It's More Than Just A Game
The Armed Forces Cup was created to reward those VGA members with the most participation throughout the VGA Tour season in a Ryder Cup styled match play championship between branches.
This year, our championship field consists of five service branch teams representing the top VGA points earners per branch per region. Each player’s selection is a testament to their dedication to the VGA, their service to our country, and their love of the game of golf.
The Veteran Golfers Association is dedicated to enriching the lives of Veterans and their family members through the sportsmanship and camaraderie of golf.
CHAMPIONS RETREAT 37 Champions Pkwy
Evans, GA 30809 Get Directions
Meet The Players
Colonel (Retired) Steve Bristow recently relocated from the northern Virginia suburbs to the Fort Meyers, Florida area where he enjoys an active retirement lifestyle. Days filled with golf, hikes, pickle ball, and lots of traveling make for an enjoyable routine.
Colonel Bristow retired from the US Army in 2012 after 30+ years of active duty. He served in a variety of assignments over the years to include Infantry, Armor, Signal Corps, and Acquisition Corps positions. His final assignment was as the Program Manager for the Rapid Equipping Force within the Army G-3/5/7 organization.
Colonel Bristow served in many postings to include Fort Carson, CO; Fort Bragg, NC; Schwabisch Gmund, Germany; Fort Huachuca, AZ; Fort Belvoir, VA, and The Pentagon.
Throughout his career, Colonel Bristow deployed many times in support of military missions to include: the Gulf War with Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Operation Iraqi Freedom; and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Colonel Bristow graduated with a BS degree from Francis Marion University in 1982, Western International University with an MBA in 1990, and the US Army War College in 2003. He is also Level 3 certified in Army Acquisition Management. Colonel Bristow’s military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit x 2, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal x 3, Army Commendation Medal x 3; Army Achievement Medal x 3; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Kuwait Liberation Medal; the Army Staff Identification Badge; and the Senior Parachutist Badge.
In 2012, after retiring from the Army, Colonel Bristow embarked on a second career as a defense contractor in the Washington DC area. He worked for several Defense IT contractor company’s primarily as an IT Program Manager. These companies included Octo Consulting Group in McLean, VA; Vintun, Inc in Alexandria, VA; Dutch Ridge Consulting in McLean, VA; and Serco, Inc in Reston, VA.
Colonel Bristow is the proud father of two college age children: Raleigh who is enrolled as a sophomore at The College of Charleston in the nursing program; and Gus who is a freshman at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia.
Tracey Brown honorably served in the United States Navy from 1991-1994 in the first combat search and rescue helicopter squadron, HC-1. The son of retired Navy CMC Sam W. Brown, Tracey experienced the diversity of military life all over the country and the world in his youth. After graduating from a DoDDS high school in London, UK, Tracey relocated back to the United States in 1990 and shortly thereafter enlisted in the Navy. After finishing first in his class in A School, Tracey was given a choice of fourteen different duty stations which he ultimately chose HC-1 located at NAS North Island in Coronado, CA.
Tracey never lost sight of his lifelong dream of a career in the music industry, so when HC-1 decomissioned in 1994 he left the Navy and began producing local San Diego rock bands in the recording studio. In 1998, Tracey relocated to Los Angeles to work in the major studios and after a year in the entertainment industry trenches, he began a five-year stint as iconic hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg’s personal studio engineer. Tracey left the music industry in 2004 and relocated to the Washington, DC area where he now resides. Since moving to DC, Tracey’s professional focus took a major shift towards video production and photography. He has had the good fortune to work with many prolific political and media personalities over the past 19 years and has won many awards for video production and cinematography. Among the list of achievements includes a Director of Photography Gold Award from the Television, Internet and Video Association of DC in 2017 and national Telly awards for Video Production in 2018 and Cinematography in 2020.
Tracey will be celebrating 30 years of marriage to his wife Debra in July. They have three children together; the oldest of which currently serves in the United States Navy as an AZ2 stationed in Norfolk, VA. They also have one grandchild, and he truly is the apple of his granddad’s eye.
When Tracey isn’t working in a professional capacity – or working on his golf game – he usually can be found either on the water fishing or in the woods hunting. Tracey is also an avid heavy metal/rock guitarist and owns no less than 15 guitars.
This season marks Tracey’s third year with the VGA, and he has made many new friends that are a direct result of the natural comraderie that exists among the brotherhood/sisterhood of active duty military, veterans, and military families.
Master Sergeant (Retired) Howard Thurman is currently located in Crestview, Florida, working at Hurlburt Field AFB as an Air Simulation Instructor. He was born in the Great state of Mississippi on March 15, 1961, and graduated from Florence High School in 1979. He began his Air Force career at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas in July 1983, completing basic training in September 1983. While on active duty he completed tours in Korea, Iceland, Panama and Germany. He was deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Desert Shield.
His military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
Member of the Big Brother and Sister organization
Master Sergeant Thurman has a bachelor’s in science from Troy University and a Master’s degree in Whistologly from World University.
Master Sergeant Thurman joined the Veteran Golfers Association in August 2021.
Master Sergeant Thurman is a proud father of two daughters ages 31 and 30. Jordan Thurman lives in Houston, TX and PO1 Monique Thurman lives in San Diego, California.
I graduated high school at 17 years old. After graduation I enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. Upon graduating from boot camp, I was meritoriously promoted to PFC and got my orders to be a cook at Parris Island.
I served two years at the 3rd Battalion mess hall, which was recognized as one of the 10 top mess halls in the US Marine Corp. During that time, I was honored to serve the Commandant of the Marines Thanksgiving Dinner, which was one of the proudest moments of my life.
I was honorably discharged from the US Marine Corp in 1981. I worked over 20 years in the HVAC industry as service and an installer. In 2015, I finished my career as a Regional Service Manager for a major HVAC Manufacturer.
I have been a member of VGA for 5 years, and have met some amazing people! I am married to my beautiful wife Cindy who is a VGA family member and participated in the 2019 VGA National Championship at The Greenbriar.
I enlisted in the US Coast Guard Dec 1976 in Fayetteville, NC. I attended Aviation Machinist Mate (AD) class A School in Elizabeth City, NC. Then Air Stations in Cape Cod Massachusetts, Corpus Christi, Texas, Astoria Oregon, then returned to Corpus Christi, Texas. I retired in June 1997 at USCG Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas.
Upon retirement I have work as an Aircraft Quality Assurance Inspector for McDonald Douglas Aircraft Company, Boeing Aircraft Company, in Kingsville, Texas and Meridian, Mississippi. Have worked for Raytheon Aerospace, L3 Communications, Vertex Aerospace and am currently with V2X at NAS Meridian under Navy Contract.
I joined the VGA in 2019 and play in as many VGA tournaments as I can. I love the game of golf. I have been able to play in 3 consecutive Armed Forces Cup tournaments for team Coast Guard. I am currently first in VGA points nationwide for the US Coast Guard Team have been for the last 3 years playing VGA tournaments. This year I have played in 6 states and have 49 tournaments in 2023 with 15 wins. I qualified to play the 2023 Senior Championship Nationals for the second year at Forest Creek in Pinehurst, NC. I have also been able to enlist 5 new members to join the VGA for 2023.
Staff Sargent ( Retired ) Doc Baca is the New Mexico State Director for the Veterans Golf Association. SSG Baca has been the director for the last two years. SSG Baca started playing with the VGA in 2019 along with his father as a way to be around other veterans sharing the game of golf with them. In 2020, SSG Baca qualified to represent the United States Army in the Armed Forces Cup at Pinehurst, North Carolina, where the US Army team won the championship.
SSG Baca served 26 years in the military. He served 10 years as a Navy Corpsman attached to a Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalion, Special Operation Group. During his active duty time, SSG Baca deployed to Panama, Haiti and Somalia. SSG Baca was out of the military for 2 years until the events of 9/11 happened. He was subsequently recalled back to duty to serve in the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion (Reserve Unit) out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He served with that unit for 2 years preparing to go to combat when he was injured in a parachute accident. When he recovered he joined the New Mexico Army National guard as a combat medic and military police officer. He deployed to Iraq in February of 2005 with the 126th Military Police Company. He was stationed in Baghdad, Iraq for one year and during that year participated in 282 days combat. Sustained multiple explosions via IED’s, VBIED’s, hand grenades, mortars, RPG and gunfire. SSG Baca participated in multiple raids of High Value Targets. During the multiple engagements and explosions, SSG Baca suffered severe back trauma which resulted in his back surgery in 2008. SSG Baca again recovered from his injuries and was deployed again to Iraq in 2009, just one week after his son Jacobi was born.
After returning home from both deployments, SSG Baca not only suffered physical injuries but also suffered from PTSD due to the nature of his deployments and intense combat operations he was involved in. In 2017, SSG Baca reached out for help after attempting suicide and was accepted to K9 for Warriors to receive a service dog. SSG Baca’s service dog, Jersey was responsible with saving his life and putting him back on a path of recovery, forgiveness and ultimately in a mental capacity to move forward in his life.
SSG Baca’s military awards include the combat action badge, parachute badge(Navy), Basic Dive Badge(Navy), Combat Action Ribbon(Navy), multiple Navy Achievement medals, Army Accommodation medals, overseas service medal, humanitarian service medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal(3 stars), Global War on Terrorism medal along with several other military awards and medals.
Today SSG Baca is married to Jolene Rael-Baca and they have two amazing boys, Jacobi Paul Baca and Marcus Paul Rael. SSG Baca is dedicated to the betterment and enrichment of veterans in any capacity but now mainly through the game of golf.
Specialist Gerald Burton lives in Winchester Virginia. Currently employed full time as senior management for a heavy highway construction company. Weekend activities include but not limited to VGA Golf, Owner/Operator of a dirt track race car.
Specialist Burton military journey began in 1992 and ended in 2009 serving in multiple branches with a several year break in service. He served in a variety of assignments including Infantry, Armor,Supply Specialist, and Seabee.
Specialist Burton deployed multiple times to Iraqi in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, The Liberation of Kuwait, Operation Brave Rifles and Operation Long Knife. Specialist Burton was injured in 2007 while on patrol when an IED hit his vehicle.
Specialist Burton has a degree in business management and also graduated from Phoenix State with a degree as a gunsmith.
Specialist Burton has found great pleasure over the past 2.5 years with the VGA, playing in 124 tournaments. The camaraderie and friendship made is forever embedded in my heart.
Specialist Burton had the honor of ARMY team captain AFC 2022 coming out as Champions. January 2022 Specialist Burton was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
Specialist Burton is the proud father of three children and four grandchildren.
Sergeant Major (Retired) Tim Stanton is the Director of North Carolina for the Veteran Golfers Association, that serves over 500 Veterans and their family members in the state. Annually, he coordinates over 45 golf tournaments resulting in over 2,000 rounds of golf played in North Carolina culminating in a State Championship. He is also a staple of support for the Race of the Pines and the VGA US Kids Qualifier held each year in the Pinehurst area.
Sergeant Major Stanton retired from the United States Army after 30 years of service to our nation. His last four assignments were: United States Army Reserve Command, as the Army Reserve’s Human Resources Sergeant Major; United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), Human Resources Sergeant Major; United States Army Human Resources Command St. Louis, First Sergeant; United States Army Special Operations Command (Airborne), Full Time Support NCOIC.
His military education includes the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, First Sergeant Course, Battle Staff Course, Command Sergeant Major/ Sergeant Major Force Management Course, Jumpmaster Course, Air Assault Course, Total Army Instructor Training Course, Small Group Instructor Training Course, as well as all other required training for Non-Commissioned Officers.
His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal 4th Award, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal 4th Award, Army Achievement Medal 3rd Award, Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon 4th Award.
Tim has a bachelor’s degree from Troy University. He currently resides in Whispering Pines, NC, with his wife Robin.
SGM (R) Stanton was stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta as his first stateside assignment from 1986-1990 as a SPC/CPL. That is where he picked up the game of golf. During that time, he went to the Masters each year and was present
Chris Butler enlisted in the United States Army in October 1978 and ended his inactive reserve status in March 1984, serving 3 years and 9 months on active duty. He served in the Military Police, both in Uniform and as a Military Police Investigator. He was attached to Third Region CID. He received the Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Achievement Medal.
After his enlistment, Butler was employed at the Clayton County Police Department, Jonesboro, GA. There he served as a Policer Officer, promoted to: Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, retiring as a Deputy Chief of Police. He was a Firearms Instructor and General Instructor. He served as a Crisis Negotiator and Hostage Negotiator.
Butler joined the VGA in 2018. He served one year as an Assistant Director in GA, before becoming the State Director of GA for the last two golf seasons.
Butler lives in Fayetteville, GA, with his wife Polly. They have 3 children and 5 Grandkids.
Specialist Jason Hudson is a veteran of the United States Army. He joined the Army in 1986 straight from Pontiac Northern High school in Michigan. He attended basic training at Fort Leonardwood finishing as a top recruit of his class. His Army initial training was at Fort Lee, Virginia as a 76V material storage and handling specialist.
Jason’s first duty station was in Hanau, Germany, where he signed up for a secondary MOS 71L administration; he was in this role for 12 months tasked with overseeing deployment orders for active duty members. From there he was moved to 56th Company quartermaster and performed as 76V supply chain. He then received orders to go back stateside were he spent time at Fort Riley and then Fort Hood. Fort Hood is where Jason had Air Assault training and was one of 12 graduates from 800 trainees. He was assigned to K Company 158th aviation at Fort Hood.
158th aviation was deployed to Desert Shield and then Desert Storm. During Desert Storm 158th played a role in securing the Kuwait international airport. After returning to Fort Hood, he decided to change careers.
Jason’s service medals and ribbons include – National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Air Assault Badge, Expert Rifle Badge, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars.
After Jason’s military career ended, he received an associate degree in business management from Penn Foster College and started working for NCH Corporation in Irving, Texas. He has 31 years with NCH and is currently the production manager at the Irving campus.
Jason has been a member of the VGA for 3 years now and is very grateful for what this organization has done for him personally. The VGA has provided him the opportunity to meet service members from across the United States forming a bond for life as they share their stories, grow together, and also compete against each other.
Jason is the 2022 Oklahoma B flight state champion. He came in second place after a sudden death playoff at the 2022 VGA Senior National Championship at Forest Creek in Pinehurst, NC. He qualified for his first Armed Forces Cup in 2022 at Pinehurst where the Army won the championship. Jason is honored to be representing the Army in his second consecutive Armed Forces Cup this year in Augusta, GA.
Jason is a proud member of the VGA Texas.
Chief Warrant Officer Four (Retired) Patti Shoefstall is currently serving as an Assistant Director for the State of Virginia. She joined the VGA in 2015 and continues to play and support the Veterans Golf Association in all Regions for the past 5 years.
Her hometown is Beaumont, Texas. She was adopted from Soule Korea at 7 months old. Her father is a retired LTC in the Marines, where she learned about Duty, honor, respect, and a hard-working ethic. At the age of 24, she joined the United States Army. CW4 Shoefstall retired as an Engineer Warrant Officer from the United States Army in 2009 after 25 years of service.
She was deployed 3 times from different duty stations across the world. She deployed to the Gulf War where she earned Bronze Star as a Corporal supporting the 24th ID. Her other deployment includes Bosnia. And most recent deployment was in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and OIF where she supported soldiers providing Utility Power from Bagram to Kandahar Afghanistan.
While serving as a Warrant Officer, she supported the Corp of Engineers/FEMA during major Disasters from Hurricane George to Hurricane Katrina/Rita. And Ice storms in NY.
After retiring from the US Army, CW4 Shoefstall went to work for several private companies, including an overseas position supporting the Military and civilians at Bagram Air Base.
She began competitive golf with the VGA winning multiple tournaments and qualifying in her Flight to reach the National Tournament in 2016-2021.
Her military awards and decorations include a 2-bronze star, an OEF/OIF campaign medal, Legion of Merit, 3-MSM, 7 ARCOMS- 7 AAM, and Cold War Medal,
Patti has a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College in Arts in Sociology and a minor in Business Administration. And a master’s degree in science in Emergency Management – from Toro University
She currently resides in Chantilly, VA with his wife Janis.
Staff Sergeant Gregory Taylor currently lives in Marion Virginia. Is an assistant state director of the Veterans Golf Association in the South-Western part of Virginia. Entered the Army in May 2001 and received an Honorable discharge in August 2010.
Gregory Taylor started in the Army as a medic and later reclassed as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist. In the Army had three deployments to Iraq. Gregory Taylor was also stationed in Germany, Fort Bliss, and Fort Jackson. Military awards consist of Bronze star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Army Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Medical Badge, and Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge.
After the Army went to The University of South Carolina and majored in Mathematics and minored in Chemistry and became a teacher. Later received a Masters in School Counseling from Liberty University in 2022 and is working at George Wythe High School in Wytheville Virginia. Gregory Taylor’s home golf course is Wytheville Golf Club.
Gregory Taylor is married to Sarah Taylor December 30, 2017.
Tom Vialpando is the Kansas Veteran Golfers Association (VGA) State Director. Tom joined the Kansas leadership team at the beginning of 2022 season and then became the State Director a few months afterwards.
Tom joined the VGA in in 2021. He won the 2021 Central Regional Qualifier and went on to play in the VGA National Championship at Baltusrol Country Club and Plainfield Country Club in Springfield, New Jersey.
Tom moved to Kansas in 2019 from Colorado. In Colorado Tom was the Head Baseball Coach at Dolores Huerta Preparatory High School for three years and coached youth baseball for 10 plus years.
In 2016 To retired after 20 years from the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons as a Lieutenant. Tom work as the Operations Lieutenant, Prisoner Transportation Lieutenant, Special Investigations Lieutenant and Firearms Instructor.
Tom joined the US Army in 1989, he was stationed an Ft. Bragg, NC, in the 264th Engineer Company Medium Girder Bridge (MGB) as Light Wheel Vehicle Mechanic and paratrooper. While stationed in the 264th, Tom participated in the first ever Airborne Operations heavy drop of an MGB. Tom was also a member of the Ft. Bragg post softball team. In 1990, Tom’s unit was deployed to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
Tom’s military awards include Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Saudi Arabia and Parachute Badge.
Tom currently resides in Hoyt KS with his wife Marilyn.
Robert Wilberger served four years in the Army. He deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom II in 2004 to Iraq with the 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, TX as an M1 Abrams systems Maintainer. Robert also worked multiple contracts within Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those deployments, Robert was the Site Manager for Oshkosh Defense leading the retrofit and installation of the UIK (Underbody improvement Kit) to the M-ATV MRAP.
Robert received two degrees from Arizona State University while on his final deployment to Afghanistan, leading to a new career with in manufacturing and Lean Six Sigma. Over the years Robert has grown his expertise in taking on distressed businesses and quickly resolving complicated issues, making the businesses profitable.
Most recently, Robert has taken on a new role as Head of Operations/COO at ESSMetron in Denver, CO. Here he leads a company of over two-hundred employees where he is instilling extreme ownership, accountability, & a winning culture, ever moving toward World-Class-Manufacturing. Roberts Wife, Bobbie-Jean is a MAJOR with the Airforce, having served twenty-four years in service. This is her first command position at Joint-Base Charleston.
Gary Cassell retired as a Master Chief Personnel Specialist from the U.S. Navy in 2016 after 30 years of service. He deployed five times while serving on six ships.
Since retiring from the USN, he has been working for Newport News Shipbuilding scheduling aircraft carrier refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) jobs. He also serves as an adult leader in the Boy Scouts of America and has since 1991.
Gary has a bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University. He currently resides in Smithfield, VA with his wife and daughter. He also has two adult sons.
LT (Retired) Bob Goode currently serves as a Texas Assistant State Director for the Veteran Golfers Association (VGA). Bob enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Virginia in Sept 1980 as an enlisted cook (Mess Management Specialist) and achieved the enlisted rank of E-7. Through the Navy’s Limited Duty Officer program, he was later selected for commissioning as a Navy Supply Officer (Logistics) in 1991. Over the course of his career, assignments included serving aboard 3 Aircraft Carriers, a Destroyer during the Persian Gulf War and as an Assistant Supply Officer onboard the USS Blue Ridge, the U.S. Seventh Fleet Flagship. Significant shore assignments included serving as the Food Service Officer at NAS Meridian, MS, as well as staff assignments for U.S. Naval Forces Korea and U.S. Naval Forces Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain. During his tour in Naval Forces Fifth Fleet, he provided logistical support as Fuels and Weapons Planner for all naval assets operating in the Fifth Fleet AOR. He was part of the onsite logistical support readiness team during the bombing of USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, as well as the initial logistical support readiness team during 9/11 and Operation Enduring Freedom. Significant awards and commendations include 1988 Enlisted Sailor of the Year (USS Coral Sea CV-43), Meritorious Service Medal, 3 Navy Commendation Medals and 4 Navy Achievement Medals.
Bob retired from the Navy in 2003 and joined Lockheed Martin as a Supply Logistics Analyst on the F-35 Program. He later worked in Lockheed’s Advanced Development Division (Skunk Works) as a Sustainment Support Lead where he was responsible for international sustainment support to the Republic of Korea for the F-35 Program. In 2016, Bob received the National Black Engineer of the Year Award for Technical Sales and Marketing for his outstanding performance in support of a $6.5B sale of F-35 aircraft to the Republic of Korea. Bob retired from Lockheed Martin in 2018.
Bob holds an Associate Degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Masters Degree in Leadership. Bob currently resides in Fort Worth, Tx. He and his wife Peggy have six children.
Bob was also selected to the inaugural Armed Forces Cup held in Pinehurst NC to represent Team Navy.
Robert Hedin was born 1950 in Elizaville, New York a small county town. Childhood consisted of hunting, fishing and, after reaching the age of 8, organized little league baseball. After reaching the 7th grade in school organized basketball was added to sports and by 9th grade played on the varsity basketball team. While playing summer baseball in Babe Ruth league broke right ankle summer prior to Fresh year of high school and also summer prior to sophomore year of high school. Additional sport of varsity football added sophomore year and varsity baseball.
Graduated high school 1969 with 10 varsity letters; 3 in football, 3 in baseball and 4 in basketball.
I started playing golf recreationally the summer after graduation. After applying I was accepted to Central Missouri State University and started College fall of 1969, majoring in Accounting to start and changing to Human Relations Administration with a minor in Psychology/Sociology. Participated on the golf team and Joined social fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Left College and joined the United States Navy on a delayed enlistment program, starting to Boot Camp in San Diego, Ca. Upon completion of boot camp was transferred to Hospital Corps School at Naval Regional Medical Center San Diego, Ca. graduating as a HM3. With orders to duty at NRMC San Diego Ca. working in the surgical recovery room with additional assignments to the intensive care unit and throughout the hospital as needed. Golf continued to be a part of my recreation with many MWR captain choice tournaments surrounding golf courses including Torrey Pines North and South.
1977 I requested and was accepted to advanced training as a Diving Medical Technician, which included 2nd class diving school in San Diego, qualifying in scuba and MK5 air rig, and addition training as a 1st class diver at US Naval Diving School at the Naval Yard Washington, DC, which included qualifying in a MK5 Hard Hat diving rig to 285ft on air and MK5 Helium Oxygen rig to 300ft. After 1st Class Diving School I attended two weeks of advance diving medicine to qualify as a Diving Medical Technician.
1977 First duty station as a 3rd class Diving Med Tech was USS Fulton AS-11 in Groton/New London, Ct. duties were split between the Diving Locker, performing ships husbandry dives on SSN fast attack submarines and being on call 24/7 for emergency diving job or Recompression Treatments, and the Medical Department assisting in Sick Call and maintaining Divers Medical records. I qualified to play in Cinclantfleet Golf Tournament representing the Fulton in May Port, FL. But daughter was born week of tournament and I did not participate. Advance to 2nd class and 1st class Petty Officer while assigned to USS Fulton.
1979/80 Second duty station as HM1(DV) was EOD GROUP TWO, Fort Story Va. As the Senior Medical Department representative, responsible for the Health and Fitness of all personnel assign to Headquarters Staff, EOD Training Unit and EOD Mobile Unit. HM1(DV)Hedin was on scene during EOD Team underwater training exercise when an EOD Technician lost consciousness underwater was retrieved by the dive team returned to shore by zodiac boat and examined by HM1 Hedin including complete Neurological Exam and accompanied patient to the USS Emory Land AS-39 for Recompression
Master-at-Arms Petty Officer First Class, Kevin Jones, is an active-duty Sailor from Lake Jackson,Texas, attached to Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in sunny California. He is currently a Harbor Security Boat Training Supervisor, who trains and instructs small boat defense tactics, weapons employment, and all facets of small boat safety, for the Harbor Security Boat division. Jones has been serving in the Navy for 12 years and have been previously stationed at Tinker AFB Oklahoma, Guam,Pearl Harbor Hawaii, Souda Bay Greece, and Bangor Washington.
When not at work, Petty Officer Jones enjoys spending time with his wife Brittney, exploring new food spots as well as local coffee shops. Together they have a dog, Brody, who is a 9-year-old rescue from Guam. Kevin is currently enrolled at Arizona State University, pursuing his degree in Sports Business, in hopes he can join the golfing world to give back to veterans through the game of golf.
Petty Officer Jones first joined the Veteran Golfers’ Association in 2018 while stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He later PCS’d and joined the Washington chapter where he truly felt the effects of the VGA, making friends for life with several other Washington members. The entire 2022 season was spent traveling around the state, staying at Airbnb’s, and competing with fellow members of the VGA, which culminated in qualifying for the VGA 2023 Armed Forces Cup for Team Navy.
Garrett Kasten was Honorably Discharged from the US Navy in 1995 after being attacched to Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-132 based out of Cecil Field near Jacksonville, Florida. VFA-132 was deployed to the USS Coral Sea for its final cruise where Garrett worked on the flight deck as a Plane Captain.
Golf seriously entered Garrett’s life about 2 years ago after departing his prior hobby of 22 years, auto racing. After selling his race car and support vehicles he needed a way of scratching the competitive itch that is still very strong. He was a self-taught golfer, beginning in high school, and took his first lesson shortly after his first VGA tournament 2 years ago. Garrett’s short-term goal is to move from Vet D to Vet C which is getting closer now that his handicap is down to 17.1. A longer-term goal is to have a single digit handicap.
Following the Navy, Garrett graduated from the University of Idaho College of Mines in 1996 with a degree in Geological Engineering. His career has included projects in the United States, Canada, Peru,Chile, Panama, and Romania. A few of the projects worth highlighting include the preliminary design of three dams for the expansion of the Panama Canal, preliminary and final design of the foundations for a 3-mile long bridge on the North Carolina coast and foundation design, roadway design and slope stability analysis for a large open pit gold mine in the Transylvania District of Romania.
3 months ago, Garrett moved from Denver, Colorado to Nashville, Tennessee to take the position of Program Manager with HNTB, a leading north American infrastructure engineering firm. HNTB was recently awarded a contract to manage a $3.3 Billion program alternative delivery projects and Garrett will be responsible for the delivery of multiple projects under that contract.
2nd Class Petty Officer Deborah Bundy Melecosky joined the U.S.Navy in 1978. Debbie was stationed in Mississippi, California and the Philippines. The majority of her time was at North Island with Fleet Aviation Specialized Operational Training Group. Debbie was responsible for the OFC-10 budget and TDY travel for the command. While stationed at North Island Debbie was selected as Sailor of the Quarter and was nominated for a Navy League Woman of Achievement award.
This is the 3rd consecutive year that Debbie will be competing with team Navy at the Armed Forces Cup. Debbie was a VGA National Champion at the Greenbrier in 2019 and a runner up at the 2021 National Championship at Baltusrol. When she is not golfing, Debbie has a small business called “Peace of Cake”, creating specialty cakes and cookies for all occasions.
Debbie is married to retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Tim Melecosky. They have a son, three daughters and 8 grandchildren.
Petty Officer Morton(Retired) is currently residing in Round Rock Texas. He was the Maryland State Director for the VGA for the 2021-2022 season. His current job title is the Asst Pro for Avery Ranch Golf Course.
Petty Officer Morton enlisted in the US Navy in August of 1994 and retired from the US Navy in August of 2014. He has deployed around the world including places such as Bahrain, Dubai, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Guam, Spain, Bosnia, Turkey and many other countries.
Petty Officer Morton was awarded numerous service medals, 1 Navy Commendation Medals, 9 Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medals, Sea Service Medal, Voluntary Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and many more for a total of 19 in total. He also qualified as an Air Warfare and Surface Warfare designator.
Durane received his associates degree in Human Services from Hagerstown Community College upon retiring from the US Navy. Durane currently resides in Round Rock TX with his fiancé Lanita Winfrey and he has two children. His daughter(Acacia) graduated from Cleveland Institute of Art with a degree in Graphic Design and his son(Durise) just completed his second year at the US Naval Academy.
Jay Seamans grew up in a small town in Maine. Joined the Navy in 1994 to see the world and help figure out what he wanted to do in life. Stationed on the USS George Washington Jaywas tasked with the safe movement of aircraft in the hangar deck and flight deck.
Jay deployed to the Mediterranean Sea 2 times for 6 months each time for the ship to help with the Bosnian war and to protect no fly zones and patrol the waters in the Persian gulf.
After serving and injuring himself in the shipyards, Jay departed the Navy as a Aviation Boatswains mate 3rd Class petty officer to pursue his schooling in Sports Medicine in South Carolina. He worked hard in school and also had a job with a landscaping company. Somehow Jay got sidetracked with school (money issues) and a degree was never achieved.
Jay ventured out on his own and working for himself after contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite. He felt with all the issues with the back injury and now issues from Lyme disease, it would be easier working on his own.
In 2018 Jay had heard about the VGA and joined to be able to play more golf. Starting meeting a lot of great veterans and making many friends. In 2019 Jay was asked if he would like the Assistant state directors job to help run the Upstate of SC. He took this position and has been putting together events for the VGA since 2018. Jay has played in 2 VGA National Championships, placing 2nd this past year at Trump Doral in Miami Florida. Jay continues to assist with running events in SC and recently received permission to help start setting up and running a few events in While in Maine in June and July. Jay has already booked to events in a state with a very small membership of only 7 VGA members, but hoping to help grow that membership while showing what the VGA is all about. Also, with the help of a few of the the other New England states Jay can make these a events a success and start bringing more events in the months and years to come.
John Mark Spears
John Mark Spears is the current Louisiana State Director for the Veteran Golfers Association. A position in which he takes great pride in holding. John Mark was honored to be appointed this position in June of 2022 and has since held over (20) tournaments in Louisiana. With the goal being for the member to have a most enjoyable and memorable golf outing.
He has competed in numerous events in the South Region covering 6 different states, including state, regional and national qualifiers. Some of the most memorable were winning the 2022 MS/ARK state championship at Mossy Oak Golf Club in West Point, MS and certainly qualifying at Gordon Lakes, in Augusta, GA for the 2023 Armed Forces Cup.
John Mark served 6 years as an Aviation Ordnance man in the Naval Reserve with VFA 204 “River Rattlers” stationed at NAS Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chase, LA. During his time there, VFA 204 scored the highest score ever awarded to a reserve squadron in the Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency Inspection. The squadron also received 2 battle E Ribbons and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal.
He is currently employed at Valero St. Charles Refinery in Norco, LA and has been for over 25 years. John Mark serves as lead Mechanic with the maintenance department overseeing mechanical integrity, availability and repairs of refinery equipment.
John Mark resides in Osyka, MS. He has 2 daughters, Miranda (27) and Mackenna (14) and 1 granddaughter, Paisleigh (6). John Mark has a wonderful partner in his life, Bevin, who has 2 children Bailee (27) and Skylar (22) and 1 newborn grandson, Britton. They enjoy traveling to VGA events and following LSU sports and the New Orleans Saints. They also enjoy traveling all over to their nephews’ high school baseball and football events.
Senior Master Sergeant (Retired) Christopher B. Benjamin is currently retired; he enjoys traveling and playing golf as much as possible. SMSgt Benjamin was born August 16, 1971 in Brooklyn, New York and graduated high school from Hartsville High School in June 1989. He enlisted in the Air Force and reported to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for basic military training in April 1990. His background includes diverse duties within the Services and Finance career fields to include a tour on the Numbered Air Force Staff. He completed two remote tours to South Korea and deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Desert Calm, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Senior Master Sergeant Benjamin retired as the Superintendent, Services Contingency Contract Management and A1 Directorate Resource Manager, Headquarters United States Air Forces Central (HQ USAFCENT), Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. He was responsible for the overall financial management for over $110 million in installation support within the USAFCENT Area of Responsibility. Overseas Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) support to US military personnel stationed at over 25 US Embassies and consulates.
After retiring from the United States Air Force in June 2010, Senior Master Sergeant Benjamin worked 10 years civil service as a Financial Budget Analyst for Headquarters United States Central Air Forces (HQ USAFCENT) A1 & A6 before retiring again in 2020.
Senior Master Sergeant Benjamin joined the Veteran Golfers Association January 2020. He qualified and played in the 2022 Senior VGA National Championship held at Forest Creek Golf Club.
His military awards and decorations include Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters and Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters. 438th Services Squadron Airman of the Year 1993, 20th Services Squadron Military Supervisor of the Year 1999, 20th Services Squadron Noncommissioned Officer of the Year 2003, ACC Headquarters Honor Guard Manager of the Year 2003, A1 Directorate Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year 2007, South Carolina Air Force Association Mission Support Person of the Year 2007, HQ Ninth Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year 2007, A1 Directorate Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year 2008 and 2009 Air Force General Horace M. Wade Innovation Award.
Chris aka “BENJO” currently resides in Hartsville, SC with his wife Cathy Benjamin. They have two children, Mayra 30, lives in Fort Myers, Florida and Keean 27, lives in Greenville, South Carolina.
Joseph Bonacquisti (aka. “Joe”), previously a Staff Sargent (SSGT) in the US Air Force, is currently a Senior Development Manager with Strata Decision Technology, a provider of software and service solutions to the healthcare community. For the past 27 years, Joe has been the manager and lead software engineer supporting the Department of Veterans Affairs use of Strata’s application “Sunrise Decision Support” and is the Technical Support Manager of Strata’s application “EPSi”. Joe currently resides in Hudson, New Hampshire.
SSGT Bonacquisti served on active duty from SEP 1981 through MAR 1990 as a Telecommunications and Computer Operations Specialist. Duty stations included Dyess AFB (TX), Osan AB (Korea), and Andrews AFB (MD). After separating from active duty, SSGT Bonacquisti continued to serve through the DC Air National Guard until MAR 1998 with the 231st Combat Communications Squadron.
The knowledge and experience gained through military service is what helped propel SSGT Bonacquisti into a civilian career serving various government agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Defense Information Systems Agency. It is during this time that I developed a passion for golf, sharing time with others from my Air Guard unit.
I feel that supporting the Department of Veterans Affairs has been a very rewarding experience. In my role, although I am not directly involved with patient care, I have seen many improvements in the quality of medical care and types of patient programs that can be attributed to the quality and integrity of the application data detail. Joe’s compassion and desire to help veterans is a major factor in the decision to keep working and supporting the VA for the foreseeable future.
Bobbie Boykin is the General Manager of Fed95, a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent company, Waséyabek Development Company, LLC. Mr. Boykin engages the Federal Government at all levels to maximize Fed95ʼs footprint and capabilities providing technical, non-personal services that encompass the Department of Defense, Department of State as well as all fifteen Departments of the Executive Branch. Mr. Boykin leverages his 25+ years of US Federal Government experience to grow and establish a vibrant Fed95 presence within all areas of the US Government. Mr. Boykin has served as Chief Financial Officer and/or the Chief Operating Officer of major consulting companies and held positions on their Board of Directors. Additionally, Mr. Boykin has overseen more than 6 Merger and Acquisitions of companies performing services in the Federal arena.
In past positions, Mr. Boykin has run counter-narcotic programs for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (Dept of State) and has won contracts supporting many IT Programs within the Department of Defense, Department of State, and Other Agencies. He was responsible for the hiring of the first CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation established by General Colin Powell and under US Department of State direction, Mr. Boykin established a team to provide Nation Building expertise and oversight to the Republic of Kosovo after they declared Independence in 2008. He has developed programs for training of Judges in Iraq and Afghanistan, which established the key points for Rule of Law in both locations. He was instrumental in training forces in support of Southern Sudan before Southern Sudan’s independence. He has helped the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence establish and staff the first Insider Threat Program. Mr. Boykin is a Veteran of the United States Air Force where he served President Clinton and other Special Air Missions and was awarded a Distinguished Service Award from Secretary Colin Powell for his role as a key communicator during the 9/11 attacks.
Mr. Boykin is married with three children and immensely enjoys an occasional round of golf, when his professional and parental responsibilities allow.
Mike Corcoran grew up in the South Chicago suburbs and enlisted in the US Air Force in 1997 as an Aircraft Armament Systems Apprentice. During his 11 year Active Duty career, he loaded munitions and maintained the weapons release systems on F-16’s and A-10’s and was deployed 4 times in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom. His duty stations included New Mexico, Japan, and Arizona.
TSGT Corcoran separated in 2008 and moved back to the Chicago area with his wife Cindy and their two children, Michael and Hannah. After separating, he went to work for BNSF Railway as a Signalman, currently works as a Safety Trainer.
Retired Master Sergeant James Hagen known as Jim has been an active member of the Veteran’s Golf Association (VGA) for the past six years. Residing in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Jim is part of a vibrant community of veterans and their family members who participate in the VGA. Joining the association, Jim aimed to provide support and encouragement to the brave men and women of the Armed Forces who fought tirelessly to secure the freedoms we enjoy today.
Jim’s military career spanned from 1975 to 1995, serving in the United States Air Force. He cherished every aspect of military life including the personal challenges and lengthy exercises. For the initial 14 years, Jim worked as an Avionics Sensors Maintenance Technician, specializing in fighter jets. He received his specialized training at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado. Throughout his military service, Jim and his family experienced frequent relocations throughout the United States and England. In 1989, due to his father’s illness, Jim cross-trained into the Supply career field, enabling him to relocate to K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Michigan for a six-year extended tour. During this time, he served as an Inventory Management Supervisor, providing support for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Jim acquired numerous awards and decorations throughout his career, but the skills and training he received equipped him for life beyond the armed forces.
Following his retirement from the U.S. Air Force, Jim began a fulfilling career at Gulfstream Aerospace as an Avionics Installation Technician/Lead and later as a Manufacturing Engineer. He dedicated 26 years to Gulfstream Aerospace before retiring in 2021, thoroughly enjoying his work in the industry.
Jim currently resides in Green Bay, Wisconsin, alongside his wife of 48 years. Together, they have three grown children and eleven grandchildren. They find immense joy in traveling and reconnecting with friends they met during their military service. Jim’s passion for golf originated in his hometown of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, where he learned to play. He represented his high school on the golf team and participated in local junior tournaments. His love for the sport was inspired by his father, who served as a tank navigator during World War II. Jim’s three brothers also served in the military, with one in the Army and two in the U.S. Air Force. While he cherishes the time spent with his three surviving siblings, his wife, children, and grandchildren hold a special place in his heart. In fact, one of his sons is also a VGA member, having reached the National Championship in 2021, further solidifying the family’s connection to the VGA. They enjoy playing golf together during VGA events and local tournaments in Wisconsin and Michigan.
While Jim primarily participates in VGA events in Wisconsin, he also enjoys the opportunity to visit his daughter and grandchildren in Savannah, Georgia. During these visits, he actively engages in a multitude of South Region events held in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. Just as his father did before him, Jim has successfully passed on his love for golf and deep respect for the Armed Forces to his children and grandchildren, fostering a continued legacy.
In retirement, Jim continues to pursue his passion for golf and enjoys the camaraderie he finds within the VGA community. Alongside his fellow veterans, he enjoys competing, sharing stories, and fostering lasting friendships. Jim’s dedication to honoring and supporting those who served our country remains unwavering, and he is grateful for the bonds formed through the VGA.
MSgt (RET) Kenneth “Rob” James, originally from Western NY, is a 25-year veteran of the United States Air Force and now serves his customers in the tile community in 4 states. As the owner of TileWarrior LLC, MSgt James is an independent sales agent for tile and stone distributors located in New York City and Nashville TN.
MSgt James retired from the United States Air Force in 2010 dividing almost half of his career between Active Duty Air Force and the NC Air National Guard. Msgt James started his career as a Parachute Rigger and Air Transportation Specialist moving cargo and troops all over the world at a moments notice. He has deployed all over the world and has worked with every branch of the service during his career either preparing troops and their cargo to be flown to a location or airdropping it out of the back of the jet while living up to the standard of “I Will Be Sure Always” and “The World is our Drop Zone”.
MSgt James has held other positions throughout his career in the Air Force such as a Passenger Terminal Supervisor ensuring active duty and retired Space A travelers get to their destination as would any civilian airline today. He served as a Load Planner ensuring mission essential cargo was prioritized and delivered worldwide. He maximized all available aircraft space for cargo and personnel, and most importantly verified that the aircraft would fly level.
He finished his career as the NCOIC of ATOC (Non Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Air Terminal Operations Center)
Msgt James has served in and out of every war zone from the Invasion of Panama to Afghanistan and is the recipient of numerous awards to include the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, 3 Air Force Commendation Medals, 7 Air Force Achievement Medals, the Humanitarian Service Medal, 2 National Defense Service Medals, Global War on Terror Service Medal, and 2 Air Force Reserve Meritorious Service Medals.
After MSgt James retired from the Air Force, he has worked in multiple capacities in the tile industry with manufacturers and distributors alike.
MSgt James and his beautiful wife Christy live on Johns Island, just outside of Charleston SC and he now serves as the South Carolina Assistant State Director for the VGA. They have two gorgeous and talented daughters, Jessica and Jordin. Jessie and her husband Adam live in Coastal NC and Jordin lives in Western NY.
Msgt James and Christy recently learned that Jessie and Adam are expecting their first child in November, so you may now refer to Msgt James simply as “G-Daddy”!
Phillip Ritchie joined the Greatest Air Force in the world in May of 1999. Most would agree it is also the best branch of service you could possibly join; others are just jealous they couldn’t get in. After spending a couple months in Texas for basic training and technical school to become an Electronic System Security Assessment Analyst, he was shipped off to Germany for his first assignment. A horrible experience filled full of strong European beer and trips throughout Europe. Just a few short years later the AF decide they needed his services in another hardship location and sent him to be stationed at Hickam AFB, HI., where he struggled to stay out of the constant rays of sunshine and avoided the greatest beaches in the world. After completing his second consecutive overseas tour, it was time to go back to the continental United States to be stationed at Scott AFB, IL., home of Air Mobility Command. A location where he was finally able to go to professional sporting events with the Saint Louis Rams, Cardinals, and Blues just down the road. Five years later he returned to his home state of California to be stationed at Vandenberg AFB, CA., just six hours away from family. Another miserable location on the beach with great weather most of the year and known for amazing wine. For his final assignment location, he was asked to go to the southernmost point of the continental united states, Key West, FL. A location where no one goes to party or have fun.
Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Phillip Ritchie retired from his Key West, FL assignment as an All-Source Intelligence Analyst in 2019 after 20 years of service. After retiring from the Air Force, he went on to be a contractor supporting the US Government on Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM. (Lots of sand, not really any beaches though)
TSgt Ritchie originally joined the VGA in 2018 to get a free T-Shirt, at that time living in Key West, FL there were no local VGA events to participate in. After moving to NM in 2019 and participating in his first VGA Event in June of that year he has been an active member of the VGA ever since. Over the past several years he has participated in events in five different states (NM, TX, AZ, NV, CO), two state championship events, two West Regional Championship events, two AFC Regional Qualifiers, and the 2021 Armed Forces Cup (AFC) in Pinehurst, NC.
His military awards and decorations include multiple AF Commendation medals, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, an AF Achievement Medal, a Navy Achievement Medal, an Iraq campaign medal, and an Afghanistan campaign medal.
426 Information Operations Squadron, Vogelweh Cantonment, DE (1999-2003)
352 Information Operations Squadron, Hickam AFB, HI (2003-2005)
67 Information Warfare Flight, Scott AFB, IL (2005-2009)
618 Tanker Airlift Control Center, Scott AFB, IL (2009-2010)
Benjamin Bristow enlisted into the United States Marine Corps on June 18th, 2001. He went to bootcamp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California and graduated September 14, 2001, just three days after 9/11/ Upon completion of boot camp he reported to the School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton. Benjamin Bristow reported to 1st battalion, 1st marines and soon found himself overseas in Afghanistan at the age of 18. During his tours overseas he was hit by 13 IED’s which caused severe damage to his spine. By the age of 28 he was pursuing to become a Drill Instructor. Unfortunately due to the stress on his spine he was medically dropped.
After serving for 14 years, and serving six combat tours overseas (3 in Iraq, and 3 in Afghanistan) He decided that it was time to leave the Marines behind him, become healthy, both mentally and physically and move on with becoming an entrepreneur.
In October 2013 he was married to his wife Catie Bristow. Soon after they left the Marines and moved to Boise, Idaho to open a CrossFir gym. They had several locations and then consolidated them into one mecca gym. They grew into the largest CrossFit gym in the Northwest where they served over 150,000 members in over 10 years in business. During this time they have brought in 2 children. Both boys. One is 3 years old and the other is 3 months old.
After covid shut the gym down for 8 weeks they decided that life was more than grinding from 4am to 9pm daily. 3 months ago they sold the gym in a struggling economy for a profit and have pursued their other business that spans the globe where they help families in finances and health and wellness. They travel the world as a family now.
Benjamin’s awards include Navy Achievement Medal with Valor device for actions in Combat, 2 Combat Actions awards for conflicts in two separate countries, Afghanistan campaign, Iraq campaign.
Benjamin is currently attending University where he is working towards his PGA Pro card. He has been golfing his entire life, however due to injuries sustained overseas he has had to learn and adapt to a new swing that his spine agrees with.
Benjamin also started a custom putter business for fun. Bristow and Hitch Custom Putters has been in full swing and serving people from all over the Nation.
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Steve Holmes is the Senior Vice President, South Region, for UZURV, which is a Transportation Network Company that provides transportation to persons with disabilities nationwide.
Lieutenant Colonel Holmes retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2003 after 24 years of service. Steve enlisted in 1976 attaining the rank of Sergeant before being accepted into the Officer Candidate Program in 1982. As a Non-Commissioned Officer, Steve served as a Drill Instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego from 1979-1982.
As an officer, Steve was trained with the U.S. Army at Ft. Knox, KY as an Armor Officer. He also served with the U.S. Air Force in the Global Positioning System Joint Program Office at Los Angeles Air Force Station. He has held operational billets of platoon commander (2), company executive officer, company commander (2), battalion intelligence officer, Marine Corps Expeditionary Force Future Operations Officer and Combined Forces Land Component Command Operational Planning team lead. Also, he has held support billets as the Executive Officer, Marine Security Guard Company in Casablanca, Morocco, and tactics instructor at the Marine Corps War College.
During his career, Steve deployed to support Operations Desert Shield, Allied Force and Iraqi Freedom.
After retiring in 2000 for the first time from the Marine Corps, Steve held various senior leadership positions, such as Program Director, Assistant Secretary for Programs and Chief of Staff, at the Florida Department of Children, and Executive Director for the Florida Commision for the Transportation Disadvantaged in the JEB Bush, Crist and Scott administrations. Steve retired from the State of Florida in 2019.
In December 2002, Steve was recalled out of retirement to serve as the Operational Planning Team lead within the Future Operations Cell at Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC), Kuwait. When the CFLCC transitioned to Joint Task Force-7, Steve returned to the U.S. and retired for the second time.
Steve graduated from Lincoln College in 1977 where he played baseball. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from National University.
Steve currently resides in Tallahassee, FL with his wife Susie.
Corporal (Veteran) Alphonso Jackson is the President of Alchanis Technical Services, Inc, a corporation based in Grovetown, GA. They serve businesses nationally that require information Systems design, configuration, and cyber security recommendations.
Corporal Jackson was a communication specialist within the United States Marine Corps, from 1982 until 1987. He was deployed to Beirut Lebanon 1983 with 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit attached to the UN Peace Keeping force. During his tour, he was assigned the duty of training the Lebanese Army on Air Assault Tactics.
Having been stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC (1982-1983), 29 Palms, CA (1983-1985), and Camp Pendleton, CA (1985 – 1987), he decided to move back to Georgia, his home after his enlistment ended, where he has worked in the Information Technology space until starting his own business in 1999.
Corporal Jackson has been very active in his community through the work
of the VFW, and Veteran Golfers Association. Participating in a number of events to help fellow veterans, and their families.
His military awards and decorations include Marine Corps Expedition Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation (w/1 star), Good Conduct Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Alphonso has a Bachelor’s degree from Troy University. He currently resides in Grovetown, GA, with his wife Cheryl, and their sons Andrez, and Isaiah.
Ronald Janicki enlisted in Marines in February 1966 at age 19. Trained as an aviation electrician. Served in Chulai, Vietnam with VMA-311 (Marine Attack Squadron 311) 1967-68. The squadron flew A4 Skyhawk jets in support of ground troops. Honorable discharge in Feb. 1970 (Corporal E-4). Used G.I. bill to get Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Robert Morris University. Retired after 25 year career with Verizon in 2003. Worked 2 years for USIS (United States Investigations Services) doing background checks for individuals seeking security clearances.
A native of Southwest Pennsylvania, I’ve resided in Woodbridge Virginia since 1974. Have 2 sons ages 42 and 34. Have been a member of VSGA (Virginia State Golf Association) since 2011. Joined VGA in November 2020. (Won the VGA National Senior Championship in 2021). Played in the VGA National Championship in 2021. Was a member of the 2022 AFC Marine team.
One of 3 qualifiers from the Virginia, Maryland, DC metro area and played in the 1974 USGA Public Links championship at Brookside GC in Pasadena California. I’ve enjoyed meeting all the great fellow veterans at all the VGA events in which I’ve played.
Corporal Musselwhite served in the Marine Corps as a military police for four years during the years of 1996-2000 at MCB Quantico, Va. After departing the military he worked armed security in DC for the Dept of Justice for several years where he also served on the ERT team until leaving in 2004.
Cory decided to go another path and found a career in logistics where he still continues to thrive. As a contractor Cory deployed to Iraq to support operations that were ongoing. Then in 2010 he deployed out to Afghanistan to continue his mission to support personnel that were already deployed. Cory deployed a second time back to Iraq where he help relocate base personnel and equipment where he departed in 2012.
Corporal Musselwhite resides in Fredericksburg Virginia with his wife Dana and youngest daughter Kendall. Has two other daughters Paula and Haley, one son Austin who have started their journeys as adults. Lcpl Austin Musselwhite is active duty in the Marine Corps and currently stationed at MCAS Miramar.
Cpl Aaron Rigozzi is the President and Owner of Semper FI Builders INC. based out of South Haven, MI. Semper FI Builders is a Custom Home building and remodeling company that has been in business since 2002.
Cpl Rigozzi enlisted into the USMC on the delayed entry program while he was a junior in high school in 1992. He new he wanted to be a Marine since the first time he saw the Marines in their Dress Blues standing behind President Ronald Regan as he addressed the nation.
Cpl Rigozzi was a 1371 combat engineer who served in Okinawa, Japan with 3rd Force Service Support Group (FSSG) 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB). While in Okinawa CPL Rigozzi deployed to South Korea in conjunction with the Navy SEE BEES for the construction of several buildings along with bridge and road repair/construction.
After Okinawa CPL Rigozzi was stationed at French Creek, Camp Lejeune with 2nd FSSG 8th ESB. While there CPL Rigozzi attended NCO leadership training and received the Outstanding Leadership Award. CPL Rigozzi deployed to Central and South America while stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC serving in Joint Task Force Operations with the Air Force Civil Engineers and Army Engineers completing roads, bridges, schools, orphanages, hospital repair and water purification. Also, while stationed in NC Cpl Rigozzi went to Fort Benning, GA to jump school.
Aaron is married to Tamara Rigozzi and resides in South Haven, MI. They have 4 beautiful children, Oliva, 21, who just graduated from Western Michigan with a Chemical Engineering degree. Trevor, 19, who is studying Graphic Design at KVCC. Loch, 17, junior at Saugatuck High School, CC and Track State Qualifier, Honor Roll. Oakley, 16, Sophomore at Saugatuck High School, had to take a year off from CC and track due to a torn ACL while training for hurdles, wants to be a Environmental Biologist.
USMC retired. Corporal. Helicopter Crew Chief, Vietnam
Critically wounded in rocket attack 1968
Life member of 40/8, American Legion, VFW, Marine Corp League, Order of the Purple Heart
Past Chef de Chemin de Fer (National Commander) 40/8
Following life altering injuries in a rocket attack in Viet Nam, Bernie did what all Marines do, he adapted. Following seventeen months in the hospital, he returned to his home in Northern NY and became active in various sporting groups as a coach for Little League and Pop Warner Football and umpire for Men’s and women’s fast pitch games. He has spent his life in service to other veterans holding most offices in the American Legion and 40/8 (La Societe de Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux). He was finance officer for his local AL post for 26 years and worked as 40/8 Correspondante Nationale (Chief Operations Officer) at national headquarters in Indianapolis before his retirement in 2016.
Bernie’s disability would seem to prevent him from golfing, but as County Commander of the AL in 1990, he was expected to play in their annual golf tournament. So once again, he adapted and a golfer was born.
Today, Bernie and his wife live in an Indianapolis subburb right on a beautiful Pete Dye golf course. Most days, he can be seen driving his golf cart from the garage and through the back yard which bumps up against the 15th fairway. He travels to other courses regularly with the Indiana Seniors and became a member of the VGA in 2020.
Sergeant Bill Young served four years in the Marine Corps as an Artilleryman Fire Direction Control aiming the howitzers. Presently Bill Young is the South Carolina State Director for the Veterans Golfers Association. This will be his second year leading the state of South Carolina where he currently lives in Charleston, SC.
Originally Bill is from a small town near Columbia, SC on Lake Murray called Chapin. He joined the Marine Corps at 19 in 2006 where he graduated boot camp from Parris Island. Went to Iraq in 2008 as Task Force Military Police. In 2010 he earned his Honorable Discharge then moved to Raleigh, NC. Here he attended college at North Carolina State University earning a degree in Economics in 2014.
While in college he volunteered his time helping fundraise and establish a 115 bed homeless facility in Butner N.C. that helps veterans transition to civilian life. After graduating he earned his Series 7 and other financial licenses, to become a Financial Advisor. Three years into this profession though, many of his Marine colleagues that he had served with, started to take there own lives at an increasing rate, after fighting there demons from war at home.
By 2018, seven of his Marine colleagues had already taken their own lives. Started mental health therapy at the VA. Here they suggested finding a distraction/hobby. One day a friend asked him to play golf, where he hadn’t played in a few years. From there Bill became addicted. He realized he needed to slow life down and smell the roses. He left his career as a financial advisor. Shortly after he found several non profits that were founded to provide outdoor recreational therapy for veterans, through the game of golf. He became active in Fairways for Warriors and PGA HOPE.
After spending 8 weeks at PGA HOPE Charleston, he decided to move there. A few years after a mentor through PGA HOPE suggested he try out the Veteran Golfers Association. He played two years as just a member and took the state over in 2022. This is his second year in a row qualifying for the National Armed Forces Cup.
Mathew Bailey served in the United States Coast Guard for 20 years at which time he retired as a first class Boatswainsmate. Matt joined the USCG in 1996. His first tour of duty was on the CG Cutter Gallatin whose primary mission was drug interdiction across the Caribbean; other missions included touring Europe for 4 months to train the Coast Guard of multiple countries. In the years that followed Matt was stationed at various small boat stations across the east coast completing search and rescues, maritime law enforcement and federal fishery regulations. He served as Company Commander for 3 years at the recruit training center in Cape May as well later being chosen to teach at the Company Commander School on base training the drill instructors.
It should be noted Matt did earn the title of Coastguardsmen of the Year for a daring rescue off the coast of Atlantic City saving the life of an 8 y/o boy and the attempts to save the aunt’s life. This rescue would later be published in a book used as part of the training curriculum at the USCG training base.
Following retirement Matt decided to become a certified personal trainer and began work as personal trainer at a local gym. Through dedication and a hard work ethic he quickly advanced through the corporate ladder and become Operations Director of a well known health club. Matt missed the law enforcement side of his military background and returned to a federal job as Recreation Specialist at a local federal prison where he could combine his current civilian work detail with his military background.
Matt recently assumed the position of NJ State Director for the VGA. He lives in NJ with his wife of 20 years and has two sons – 18 and 16 years old.
Commander (retired) Jim Bellaire is a veteran with 33.5 years of active duty service. His love of golf comes from his father Gordy, who built Jim a set of clubs at the age of 8. From there he has dabbled in the game his entire life. Due to his military service as a member of the Polar Golf Association, Jim has been fortunate to play golf in many South American countries, the Antarctic, Australia, New Zealand, Figi and Hawaii.
Jim joined the Coast Guard at 18 years old. After attending boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey he was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter POLAR STAR. While on POLAR STAR as an E2 and E3 Jim traveled the world, going to both the Arctic and Antarctic. In 1984, as a member of POLAR STAR’s crew Jim worked the Los Angeles Olympic Games.
After Hospital Corpsman A school, Jim was assigned afloat and ashore eventually being one of the first 10 selectees to a new Coast Guard officer accession program that sent him back to college to finish his bachelor’s degree. At the 11 year mark, Jim attended Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, Virginia. After OCS Jim was assigned to various afloat and ashore assignments. Highlights include Executive Officer positions on 3 cutters, Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter HOLLYHOCK. In addition to representing the Coast Guard as the Coast Guard Liaison to the US Ambassador to Haiti which required him to live in Port au Prince Haiti for a year.
Upon retirement in July 2017 after 33.5 years of active-duty service, Jim was offered a position as the contract Site Lead at the Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, South Carolina. He has been in this position for 6 years. Leading an excellent team of 31 instructors and instructional technologists.
Throughout his life Jim has placed a lot of value in service to the community. He has worked as a volunteer with the American Red Cross, who highlighted him early in his career for his abilities to help whenever there was a need. Most recently he worked with the USO as a senior volunteer supervisor for the Kingsmill LPGA Championship golf tournament in Williamsburg, Virginia. Additionally, Jim is a member of full life member of the VFW and other civil society organizations.
Jim has been a member of the Veteran’s Golf Association for 3 years. During that time he has won 4 tournaments, qualified and played in the Senior National Tournament in 2002 and is honored to participate in this year’s Armed Forces Cup.
In 2008, Ambassador Janet Sanderson honored Jim with the award of the U.S. State Department’s Franklin Award. This award, very rarely awarded to military members, is named for Benjamin Franklin in honor of his distinguished service as a public servant and U.S. diplomat, recognizes the achievements of individuals in a variety of areas of importance to the Department. Jim received this award in recognition of his teamwork and crisis management during the 2008 Haitian riots.
His military honors and awards include, the Meritorious Service Medal, four Coast Guard Commendation metals with the Operational distinguishing device, three Coast Guard Achievement medals with the Operational distinguishing device, two Commandants Letter of Commendation ribbons with the Operational distinguishing device, three Coast Guard Team ribbons, five Coast Guard Good Conduct medals, the Arctic and Antarctic service medals, the Coast Guard foreign service medal, the Expert Rifle medal and Sharpshooter Pistol ribbon, in addition to many coveted unit awards.
Jim has earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Strayer University and a Master’s in Education degree from the University of West Florida.
Jim is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He has been married to Maryanne for 35 years. Jim and Maryanne have 3 grown children, all of which are married. Jim and Maryanne are the proud grandparents of 5 grandchildren and anticipate have a 6th that will be born around Christmas time.
Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Tyler Bowden is a dual-role Coast Guard member, currently serving as a drilling reservist at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia, PA, and as a full-time federal civilian at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC.
CWO Bowden’s career began in 2010 when he enlisted in the Coast Guard reserves and served for the first seven years on Active Duty fulfilling multiple contingency roles including Operation Deepwater Horizon (New Orleans Oil Spill), Operation Enduring Freedom (Guantanamo Bay), and multiple hurricane contingencies impacting the southeast US and Puerto Rico. In 2017, he transitioned back to reserve drill status (inactive duty). As a drilling reserve, he completed a four-year tour at Coast Guard Surface Forces Logistics Center, Mobile Support Unit, Baltimore, MD, and when promoted to CWO transferred to Philadelphia where he currently serves. His enlisted rating was Storekeeper and he was promoted to Finance and Supply Warrant Officer in April, 2022.
Tyler’s Coast Guard civilian career began in 2017 when he was hired into a budget analyst role at Coast Guard Command Control and Communications Service Center based out of Alexandria, VA. In 2019, Tyler was promoted into an appropriation manager and senior financial analyst position in the Office of Budget Execution under the CFO at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he currently serves and plans to remain until retirement.
CWO Bowden is originally from West Palm Beach, FL and is married to and joined by Faviola (Perdomo) Bowden, also a Coast Guard reserve and civilian, of Houston, TX, and they currently reside in Quantico, VA. They have three children – Kyran (18), Mia (16) and Olivia (4). Tyler earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Purdue University in 2019 and has held certification as Defense Financial Manager since 2017.
CWO Bowden’s significant awards and achievements include two CG commendation medals, two achievement medals, global war on terror expeditionary medal, humanitarian service medal, military outstanding volunteer medal, and two Chief Financial Officer Awards for Excellence.
Boatswains Mate First Class Michael W. Bradshaw served in the United States Coast Guard for 20 years retiring in October of 2020. Michael Joined the Coast Guard in 2000 straight out of high school from the small town of Hacksneck on Eastern Shore of Virginia.
After completing basic training in Cape May New Jersey, Michael went on to his first tour of duty located in Atlantic City, NJ. While stationed in Atlantic City Michael went on to get qualified to conduct Search and Rescue missions as a small boat operator, Law Enforcement and marine fisheries enforcement. Following Atlantic City Michael was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to conduct security missions following the tragic events of 9/11. Petty Officer Bradshaw went on to complete 5 more tours of duty at various stations and ships across the United States.
It should be pointed out that Boatswain Mate First Class Bradshaw received numerous awards; to include the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal and Army Achievement Medal.
The most notable for a daring rescue the night of November 15th 2014. Michael led a complex rescue off the North Carolina Coast while operating the 47 Motor Life Boat battling 15 to 20ft seas and winds in excess of 50 knots. Despite the complete loss of electronic navigation system on the 47MLB he demonstrated superior navigational skills and seamanship by rigging the vessel for tow transporting the three people on board back to safe harbor.
After retiring from the Coast Guard Michael returned working for the federal government onboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point located in Havelock, NC. He now enjoys his job working with aircraft, playing golf and his wonderful family Angie (wife) Reagan and Lana (2 daughters).
Chief Boatswains Mate (retired) Christian (Chris) Collins is a Government Contractor and is an instructor at the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, SC.
Chief Collins retired from The U. S. Coast Guard in 2015 after over 20 years of service. During his career he was involved in Search and Rescue missions as well as numerous counter-narcotic missions to the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Chief Collins’s first assignment out of boot camp was in Washington D.C as a member of the Presidential Honor Guard. Chief Collins was selected for several high-profile jobs to include being the personal military escort to the First Lady. Also during his time in the Honor Guard, Chief Collins was selected to be on the Joint Service Casket Team that carried LT Michael Blassie out of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier once his remains were identified.
Chief Collins was able to continue to pursue his dream of playing professional football while being active duty and played semi-pro as well as two seasons in two different Arena Football Leagues. Additionally, he was selected to attend a NFL free agent combine and was selected by the Tennessee Titans. Chief Collins was released due to him being active duty but continued to coach football at almost every level. He currently will be helping coach Kickers, Punters and Long Snappers at South Carolina State University.
After his retirement from the Coast Guard, Chief Collins spent 4 years as the Senior Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross. In this role he was able to serve the residents of his home state of South Carolina following hurricanes, storms, floods and fires.
In 2019 Chief Collins accepted a position with the local school district as a Physical Security Specialist.
Chief Collins has two children that he is extremely proud of. His Son Cole is an MP at Fort Bragg, NC. Cole and his wife Brianna have a beautiful 6 month old daughter named Hunter Elizabeth. Chief Collins’s daughter Lauren is graduating from Summerville High School and will be attending the University of Alabama this fall.
Chief Collins has been a part of the VGA since 2021 and has thoroughly enjoyed everything about what the VGA is and represents.
Chief Collins is proud to represent the U.S. Coast Guard in the 2023 VGA Armed Forces Cup!
FN Chris Gatcomb (USCG Ret.) joined the Coast Guard in 2014 and spent just over 4 years active duty. The majority of his time was spent on Patrol Boats conducting SAR and Law Enforcement. His units were the USCGC Sea Lion based out of Bellingham, WA, USCGC Monomoy based out of Manama, Bahrain, and USCG Station New Haven based out of New Haven, CT.
After FN Gatcomb’s deployment to the Arabian Gulf on the USCGA Monomoy he reported to USCG Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, NC to attend AMT (Aviation Maintenance Technician) “A” School. The day prior to his class start he suffered a cardiac arrest in the gym of ATTC. His fellow shipmate and friend FN Nick Cooke (Now AMT2 Cooke) who was there for the same “A” School sprung to action and performed life saving CPR and attached and AED to FN Gatcomb’s chest in order to deliver the shock needed to defibrillate his heart. As a result of his Cardiac Arrest, FN Gatcomb was discharged from the Coast Guard in 2018.
Since his discharge from the USCG, Chris has become involved with the In a Heartbeat Foundation, serving on its Board of Directors. In a Heartbeat’s mission is to prevent death from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated 250 AEDs to schools, businesses, towns, and families in need of the lifesaving devices. They have performed over 4,000 ECG heart screenings to student athletes all over the state of CT and have trained over 3,000 individuals in CPR/AED.
Chris was born and raised in Wallingford, CT where he has returned to live and work. He resides in town with his girlfriend Andrea and is surrounded by family and friends.
Chief Petty Officer (retired) Tim Grover is the Owner and President of Anchor Construction Associates LLC, a general contracting and excavation company that serves the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.
Tim retired from the United States Coast Guard in 2014 after 23 years of Service.
He served aboard 3 Coast Guard Cutters consecutively in the 90’s and early 2000’s, serving as the Food Service Officer, with collateral duties ranging from EMT and Deck Watch Officer, to Law Enforcement Boarding Officer, where he amassed more than 850 boardings.
He served for 5 years as the Executive Petty Officer of the Recruiting Office in Lansing, MI and was responsible for the accession of over 120 new Coast Guard members.
His final tour of duty was Coast Guard Training Center Cape May where he served as the Ceremonial Section Chief, overseeing the Recruit Band and Silent Drill Team, provided Military Honors for over 100 deceased Service members, and was the Protocol Officer for the Training Center’s Commanding Officer. He also trained hundreds of recruits as a Company Commander.
Aside from his work in his Company, Chief Grover is an active member in the VGA and spends his free time golfing in other leagues and special events.
His Military awards include the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal, Permanent Cutterman’s Insignia, and Company Commander Badge.
He has 3 grandchildren and 3 step-grandchildren and currently resides in Wilmot, NH with his girlfriend, Gina Ayers.
Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Lynch, Honorably Discharged from the U.S Coast Guard in 2009, spent 8 ½ years serving his country from Louisiana, California, and North Carolina. His time started in August of the year 2000, and ended by serving his last duty station in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
PO1 Lynch spent his time as a Store Keeper within the USCG. He oversaw Purchasing, Acquisitions of Capitol Assets, Shipping and Receiving, Inventory Control and Service Contracts for multiple Small Boat Stations, an Aid to Navigation Station and a Sector Field Office.
After his time serving his country, Travis used the GI Bill to attend the Golf Academy of America in Dallas, TX in 2013. Travis has been playing golf since the age of 15, and after his enlistment, he used this to forge his next path of employment in the golf industry. He graduated in 2014, with an Associates degree in Golf Course Management and Operations, as well as being the class Valedictorian with a GPA of 4.0.
This road led Travis into owning his own business in the golf industry, Travis Lynch Golf that is a Teaching and Coaching business based in Frisco, TX at The Trails of Frisco Golf Club. Currently, Travis has over 120 junior golfers in his programs, runs PGA JR. League matches twice a year, and gives over 100 hours of private instruction per month.
Travis is now working toward PGA Membership and is over half way to achieving his goal.
Travis has a Wife (Alyssa), a 4 year old son (Declan) and Golden Doodle (Birdie) at home.
Master Chief Philip Schar assumed the duties as Master Chief Advancement Panel Division Chief in June 2022. His primary responsibility is coordinating and implementing 25 Coast Guard enlisted boards and panels. Which includes, Advancement, Special assignments, Advanced Education, and Continuation Boards for over 1500 enlisted applications each year. From June 2018 – June 2020 Master Chief Schar served as Finance Division Chief at Sector Lower Mississippi River Memphis, TN. His primary responsibility is micro purchases as Procurement Liaison Officer for D8 Regional Support Team.
Master Chief Schar’s previous assignments include Surface Force Logistics Command Baltimore, MD; Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, FL; USCGC CAMPBELL, Portsmouth, NH; Coast Guard Station Destin, FL; USCGC VALIANT, Miami, FL; Integrated Support Command Ketchikan, AK
Master Chief Schar graduated from McNary High School in Keizer, OR. He is also a graduate of US Air Force Senior Enlisted Academy and certified as a Contracting Officer, Property Officer, and Logistics Specialist.
His personal awards include Three Coast Guard Commendation Medals with operational distinguishing device, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, and three Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbons, with operational distinguishing device. As well as various other personal and unit level awards.
Originally from Salem, Oregon, Master Chief Schar enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in October 2003. He enjoys playing basketball, golf, kiteboarding and remodeling houses in his free time and currently lives in Upper Marlboro, MD with his wife Stephanie Schar and our long hair Dachshund Bell.